Friday, January 30, 2009

My new least favorite sport

Mike goes to the fitness center several times a week, and so do I, but we don’t often go together. He goes in the morning before work and runs on the treadmill or swims laps. I usually go during the day when I take T. to swimming lessons or take all the kids to walk on the track. So Mike had this idea that we should go together some morning and play racquetball.

I learned to play racquetball in 8th grade and hadn’t played since then, but I remembered liking it. But apparently in the several years since 8th grade, I’ve forgotten the rules and the technique, and I’ve also developed a greater sense of self-preservation. All these things make it very difficult to play racquetball, as I found out last week when we went the first time.

First of all, if they could just somehow turn the sound off in the racquetball court, it would be 50 percent less scary. When Mike slams the ball, that WHACK sends signals that bypass my brain and tell my body to cower against the nearest wall and hold as still as possible to minimize my chances of getting hit by the dangerous flying object. It’s hard to return a serve that way. Then there’s the whole speed issue. I must have been able to think much faster when I was young. Now, this is what happens:

00:00:01 Mike serves.
00:00:10 The ball hits the front wall and ricochets.
00:00:19 I see the ball coming and start to figure out whether I need to move right or left, and what angle I need to swing at, and where the ball is going to bounce, and whether it’s likely to smack me in the head.
00:00:20 The ball passes me while I stand there looking really intelligent.
00:00:45 I finish my calculations, which are probably wrong, but we’ll never know because Mike is getting ready to serve again.

I did actually hit the ball a few times, and if Mike had just had the courtesy to return it to the exact same place, I could have hit it again. Instead, he kept hitting it over in the corner or up against the ceiling, as if that were part of the game or something.

Because Mike has superhuman patience (or maybe because he wanted another good laugh), he asked me to go again with him today. He said I needed more practice. This may or may not be true, depending on how you define “need,” but I decided to go. I can’t do any worse than last time, I thought.

Well, I thought wrong. I won’t go into the details, like the times (yes, plural) I served the ball and hit myself with it, or the time the ball bounced off two walls and the corner and ended up wedged between my back and the wall. (I may be the first human to accomplish such a feat and I wasn’t even trying.)

I’m not sure how much exercise I got, other than lots of practice for my adrenaline system. Next time I need to be terrified, I’ll be ready. I told Mike afterward that maybe we should take up some sport less dangerous and scary, like skeleton, or parachuting, or lion taming. He said, “See? Look at the worlds racquetball has opened up to you.” Ha ha. I think I’ll name my first lion after him.


Barefoot Pixie said...

I absolutely LOVE reading your witty, charming posts! I'll remember to avoid raquet ball at all costs (not that I was in much danger of getting dragged into that one).

Holly said...

I am SO laughing. Steve refuses to play raquetball with me because he says I am not agressive enough. Personally, I think he is agressive enough for the both of us. . .

Deborah Raymond said...

I learned early on in my marriage, that I should avoid playing sports with my husband if I wished my marriage to survive. Especially tennis. I couldn't help but laugh reading your post,it reminded me of myself!

Cori said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cori said...

ROFL! That's hilarious! Yeah, a wise man once said that racquetball is the only sport where you can be looking at the ball and it will simultaneously hit you in the back of the head at ninety miles an hour. ;)